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GROW UP AMERICA <p> Monica Benderman

Written by Subject: WAR: About that War
by Monica Benderman

When our children were young they seemed to believe they had the right to have everything they asked for, and they deserved to have it on demand. Self-discipline and the understanding that rights were earned were not ideas they were able to comprehend.

As with most children – they were the center of their world and everything worked as long as their demands were met.

Our children could not see the system of discipline in place that had existed for ages between those who had become adults and those they were meant to guide until they became adults.

Sometimes the system worked – when children were focused and adults patiently remembered lessons from their past and used them to dictate the manner in which they handled their present.

The benefits of following a system of discipline established by generations of wise souls who had learned the value of maintaining peace through order in an environment responsible for ensuring that the next generation continued to build on the foundations they created rather than losing that order by reliving past mistakes; is something all good parents understand.

Today – I wonder how many generations ago we forgot what it meant to learn from what had come before. And I wonder – when are the children going to finally become adults?

Long ago this country was founded on the blood of strong men willing to lay down their lives for the freedom they desired. Intent on doing everything possible to avoid such action, they asked for nothing more than the right to live by the laws of humanity – a gift we all were given but few have managed to deserve.

At the end of the day, freedom for our nation was achieved but not without resorting to the greatest sacrifice — those selfish enough to believe they had the power to control others were willing to go to any length to keep that control. Our founding fathers, cognizant of the depth of their personal sacrifice, having fought for their own freedom rather than relying on the volunteerism of others to defend them, gave great thought to the laws by which future generations would have to live in order to maintain this freedom for themselves. As these great leaders signed their name to the Constitution they worked so hard to create, they spoke of their fear that the significance of their work would someday be unrecognized as greed, lust for power and forgotten history all gave rise to an unkempt skeleton of their once proud vision.

Here we are, the children of our parents. What our founding fathers gave us has been lost in the greed and lust for power — history forgotten, lessons never learned for the lessons never were studied.

GROW UP, America.

I am embarrassed to think that this great country is now so limited in its choices of leadership. We can choose those with so little respect for life that they are willing to send our military to war on a whim, throwing billions of hard earned AMERICAN dollars to the wind as we watch our education, medical and security resources dwindle to nothing OR we can follow those who believe the way to accomplish needed change is by laying on the floor of our nation’s capitol building and stamping their feet until someone decides to act – most likely action designed merely to get them all to shut up.

Now demanding that a war be stopped is serious business – just as I would have thought making the decision to initiate that war would have been considered the same. And yet what I see everyday as leadership exhibiting their solution to our growing nation's problems is far from serious behavior.

On the one side we have our administration – grown men and women believing so much in what they are saying about the need for war that they foolishly believe they can manipulate a nation to believe the same – but wait – they did manipulate a nation – magical sleight of hand - child's play.

On another side we have the self-proclaimed peacemakers – grown men and women who believe that by sitting against a gate at the West entrance to the White House and refusing to leave until the "boys" inside decide to stop playing war, they can actually make peace – play time is over, it is time for the players to go home.

And the world watches as our soldiers die while the games of the overgrown children are played out before their very eyes.

How fitting — childish leadership for a country which prides itself on an image of responsibility, charity and selfless service – all covers for the reality of its immaturity, selfishness and greed.

Congress has recessed and our representatives have returned home leaving the work of our nation unfinished while they campaign for re-election on promises of sound leadership and powerful change. We pay these people to give themselves raises while the citizens of our nation's heartland are learning that corporate interests are more valuable than the livelihood of real human beings.

For me – the only candidate I would vote for is the one who refused to leave the capitol building until the work was done. I guess I won't be voting for a while.

Our administration pretends to care as our soldiers die. Our peaceful demonstrators claim to support the troops wasting money on images of crosses in the sand, flag-draped coffins on the capitol building steps, and posters saying "STOP WAR" waving before the blind eyes of indifferent passers-by looking for the nearest movie theater to hide from the reality they don't want to see.

At every turn another United States citizen stands demanding their right to demand that others hear their demands – jacked-up hotrods race down neighborhood streets bouncing to the sound of heavy bass, plastic testicles dangling from the rear bumper – fake bullet holes, fake mud, fake body parts and fake relationships all part of our wonderfully fake nation of melodramatic participants in lives that must keep moving so reality doesn’t have time to catch up.

While civilians call each other on cell phones designed to keep us close and yet still maintain our distance, or email each other with screen names designed to impress and yet conceal the truth, all exercising their right to choose the images they project — soldiers are being sent to prison for exercising their right to no longer take lives to defend the freedoms of a civilian nation which hasn't a clue what freedom really means or what those soldiers have truly done for them.

A soldier is now being charged with violating the military code for having told soldiers to simply stop fighting to protest this "illegal war." I agree – soldiers should simply stop fighting, but not because of an "illegal war." Until the war has been proven illegal in a court of law, we can say it is immoral, which it is, unethical, which all wars must inevitably be, and unjust as well, but legally, we cannot use an illegal defense to define this war without a fair and impartial trial of the war.

Soldiers should simply stop fighting, however — because the people who claim it is for their freedom that our soldiers fight – simply haven't earned the right to be free – and most assuredly have not earned the right to expect that the blood of our soldiers should be shed defending their lives.

My husband did not put his life on the line to defend the right of a nation of civilians to never have to grow up, nor did he spend a year in prison for conscientiously refusing to further participate in war simply because a group of self-proclaimed peace activists stamped their feet in the capitol building.

Grow Up, America. Please. It is what our nation's forefathers had hoped for, and the sacrifices of our active duty military and veterans deserve nothing less.

Monica is the wife of US Army veteran Sgt. Kevin Benderman, recently released from military prison after serving 13 months of a 15 month sentence having filed a Conscientious Objector application as his legal refusal to further participate in war, and as an objection to the direction this country now heads. Kevin and Monica are now working to develop a project to benefit active duty military and veterans out of respect for the sacrifice they have made to serve this country. Please visit www.BendermanDefense.org for more information.

Kevin and Monica may be reached at mdawnb@coastalnow.net

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